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U-CARMEN eKHAYELITSHA is a feature film sung and spoken in Xhosa, one of South Africa’s eleven official languages. Based on Bizet’s opera CARMEN, U-CARMEN eKHAYELITSHA was shot  in the township of Khayelitsha, near Cape Town, home to half a million people. The story of Carmen has over the years inspired a diversity of interpretations in film and theatre all over the world. Director Mark Dornford-May’s adaptation is an impressive and entertaining film that relocates this tale of the love affair between Carmen and Don José in Khayelitsha, a shantytown in South Africa against the backdrop of the hardship suffered by those who live in it. Framed within an atmospherical environment of gangsters and shebeens this interpretation is a celebration of South African dramatic art at its best.



Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Produced by Mark Dornford-May
Executive Producer: Ross Garland
Music Director and Conductor: Charles Hazlewood
Director Of Photography: Giulio Biccari
Editor: Ronelle Loots
Starring Pauline Malefane and Andile Tshoni


Golden Bear –  Berlin International Film Festival 2005


Total Film – Review – “Seek it out”

New York Times – Review  – Those Arias, That Tragedy, in Xhosa

Village Voice – Review – “This was basically the best idea ever.”

Empire – Review – “Bizet’s music is superb, the township setting ambitious and the performances boldly vibrant.”

BBC – Review – “a rousing and imaginative contemporary adaptation of George Bizet’s 19th-century opera Carmen”

New York Post – Review – “a vivacious film that is a treat for eyes and ears”